Community gathers for Fentanyl Awareness and Prevention Day

People gathered in Mankato on Sunday for a special event on fentanyl and drug addiction.
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 9:51 AM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -Sunday was the first nationally recognized Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness and Prevention Day.

The occasion stirred an event in Erlandson Park in Mankato, in which community members shared their stories around the dangers of Fentanyl.

“I feel like Travis’s story is making a difference. And we can’t have him back, that’s just not an option. But it’s bringing our community together on something so deadly as Fentanyl,” said Kim Gustavson, the mother of Travis Gustavson, who died due to a Fentanyl overdose last year.

Organizers say that their goal is to educate and spread awareness about how the substance affects the community.

“I think it went good for the first one. There was a good crowd here, I would have like to have seen more community members that I didn’t recognize, although I saw a lot. There were people that I talked to that were from up north, from St. Cloud and North Branch. A lot of them were the families of overdose death victims. But I think overall it went well and I think our message got out,” said Jeff Wersal of the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force.

The event featured speakers from various backgrounds and perspectives; from grieving family members to law enforcement to addiction survivors.

Area treatment centers offered resources for those confronting and battling addiction, and the event was catered by a local food truck.

Advocates hope to put an end to the stigma surrounding addiction and drug use, and to inspire families to have the difficult conversations that could end up saving lives.

“Never say ‘not my child, not my family. Because I stand here today and it was my family, it was my child. And it’s important to always talk to your children, always let them know that however they’re feeling its OK,” Gustavson said.